- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 16, 2003

JORDAN

Moasher concerned for Iraq’s Sunnis

AMMAN — Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Moasher has voiced concern for Iraq’s Sunni Muslims, describing them in an interview published yesterday by Al-Dustour newspaper as the “underdogs” in the war-battered country.

“The conditions of the Sunnis in Iraq is of central concern to us in Jordan because we believe that they are the current underdogs,” Mr. Moasher said in the interview with London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabia and jointly published by Al-Dustour.

Mr. Moasher said Jordan is in constant contact with the United States, seeking to open a dialogue with the Sunnis, who were a dominant and favored minority under former President Saddam Hussein.

Iraq’s Sunni religious leaders have repeatedly warned that U.S. plans to deploy Iraqi militia forces from Kurdish or majority Shi’ite units who fought Saddam’s regime could lead to civil war and Iraq’s breakup.

IRAN

Dozens of Iranians return from captivity

TEHRAN — Dozens of Iranians arrested in Iraq in recent months have returned to Iran after being released by U.S. forces, state television reported yesterday.

The state television said 41 returning Iranians were greeted by Iranian officials at Shalamcheh in the southwest border province of Khuzestan. “They kept us in custody for four months without providing any reason for our arrest,” one of the returnees was quoted as saying.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said in Madrid on Monday that Tehran was trying to tighten its controls to prevent anti-U.S. fighters from slipping across the border with Iraq. Iranian officials have also sought the release of four Iranian border guards snatched in April by an Iraq-based Iranian opposition group and handed over to U.S. forces.

ISRAEL

Shin Bet wants Tehran ‘restrained’

HERZLIYA — Iran is the world’s “No. 1 terror nation” and is plotting relentlessly to attack Israeli targets, the head of Israel’s Shin Bet security service said yesterday, calling on Western nations to restrain Tehran.

Israel has in the past accused Iran of sponsoring militant groups that attack Israel, but the remarks by the Shin Bet chief, Avi Dichter, seemed particularly hostile. Addressing a conference on national security, he said Iran poses a strategic threat.

Israel’s army chief of staff, Moshe Yaalon, described Iran as a “serious threat to Israel.” He cited “its development of surface-to-surface missiles and its attempts in recent years to acquire nuclear capabilities, even if it has run into difficulties due to international pressure.”

Weekly notes …

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer arrived in Jordan yesterday on the second leg of a Middle East tour that began in Egypt. He was scheduled to hold talks with Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Moasher, and the pair were to address the press in the early evening before Mr. Fischer’s departure for Israel and talks with his Israeli counterpart, Silvan Shalom. The focal point of his three-day trip will be today, when he hopes to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Querei. … Al Qaeda’s reputed leader in Yemen, Mohammed Hamdi al-Ahdal, has revealed under interrogation that unnamed Saudis and Yemenis were involved in funding two terrorist attacks in Yemen, including that on the USS Cole three years ago and the one against the French supertanker Limburg in October of last year. Mr. Ahdal, alias Abu Issam al-Maki, was arrested last month.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide